Ricciardo: Beating Red Bull possible after star qualifying
Renault Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo is confident that he can stay ahead of Red Bull rivals Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen after qualifying an encouraging fourth in Canada.
The result was the best achieved by Ricciardo since he joined Renault, eclipsing the sixth-place grid slot he earned in Monaco.
Ricciardo, who is starting on soft tyres while those ahead are on mediums, is confident that he can have a strong run in the race. Gasly starts fifth, while Verstappen has moved up to ninth on the final grid after penalties for Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen.
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“I think I have a chance for sure, I don’t know what their long runs were like,” he said of staying ahead of the Red Bulls. “I think if we have good race pace, even for our level, I think we can. You can overtake, but it’s not the easiest track to overtake.
“If I can hold good pace and keep my tyres healthy throughout the stints we have a chance to still remain in the top five.
“I expect a good start, jump inside the top three, get some TV time, and then we’ll see! I’m sure after a few laps the mediums will start to build and build and the soft is going to fade, but that’s where we need to be smart and pit at the right time and go from there.
“I think we can be in the mix for the first part of the race. It could be interesting, we’ll see. I know Gasly’s got the soft as well, alongside me, but then Bottas is medium. I think the start will be fun.”
Ricciardo said he had to stay calm after making a mistake early in his final lap in Q3, and admitted that after sliding his car at Turn 2 he didn’t believe that such a good outcome was possible.
“If you would have told me exiting Turn 2 ‘you’re going to be P4,’ I would have bet a lot of money that that was not going to happen," he recalled.
"The first couple of corners were’t great, and out of Turn 2 I slid a bit, and compared to my lap in Q2, I was already a tenth or something slower. And I didn’t feel my Q2 lap was perfect.
“Basically I stayed calm, and I knew that I could put together a good lap. From Turn 2 onwards my lap was clean, I was pretty happy with it.
"I did what I needed to do, and it was fun, a few close encounters with a few walls! The first couple of corners, throw them away, and the rest of the lap was strong."
Daniel Ricciardo, Renault F1 Team
Photo by: Erik Junius
This was also the first time that Ricciardo has outqualified both Red Bulls since he left the Milton Keynes team.
He quipped: “I’ve got to go and see Helmut [Marko] actually! I’ve got to make the most of it while I can. P4 is sweeter, for sure, second row.
"Honestly once Max was out we knew that in Q3 we could have a real run. I think as well in Q2 Gasly was four tenths ahead of me, but I wasn’t that happy with my lap in Q2, so I knew there was some free time for me to take.
"I knew Q3 could be interesting, but he also had two sets of new tyres. So I thought it will need to be a perfect lap to get him. It was cool, to put it together was nice.”
Ricciardo stressed that it was significant that his team didn’t have to make many changes to the car over the Montreal weekend, having arrived with a good base set-up.
“I definitely get more comfortable with the car each weekend I do," he said. "Three Q3s in a row now, and that’s showing. Also with the engineering team, we’ve hardly touched the car all weekend.
"I think coming into the weekend they kinda know what I need from a car and what I like. I think that’s a sign as well – when you don’t touch a car on a race weekend there’s a good correlation between us, and that’s also giving me confidence now, just to drive a car that I know.
"I knew we had a chance of Q3 here, but I didn’t think this would be a stand out. Obviously there’s fast chicanes, a lot of kerbs and stuff.
“That’s one thing we’ve been trying to make as good as the Red Bull, the Red Bull was always very good on that, kerbing and braking and things, absorbing bumps. We’ve come a long way since Melbourne, and it’s pretty nice to get that around here."
Daniel Ricciardo, Renault R.S.19
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images
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